Wrexham couple jailed for failing to ensure their children went to school

Reporter:

Geraint Jones

A couple from Wrexham have been jailed after failing to ensure their children went to school.

The parents received a suspended sentence last October for knowingly failing to ensure one boy attended a secondary school.

They were then found guilty in their absence of a less serious charge, relating to another boy, of failing to ensure he attended secondary school.

Tim Dillon, for Wrexham Council, told town magistrates yesterday that in the second offence the boy had attended 50 out of possible 186 school sessions, with 132 unauthorised absences.

The school sent letters in June 10 last year asking for a meeting, but there was no response, and the couple also failed to reply when notice of a £60 fixed penalty was sent in February.

Another letter was sent in March to warn the parents that the penalty would be increase to £120, but there was no reply.

Yet another warning was sent, this time that failure to pay might result in prosecution, but the parents did not pay.

The parents, who appeared at the latest hearing from custody, admitted breaching the suspended sentence.

Euros Jones, defending, said the pair had not received notice of the previous hearing and would have pleaded guilty to the new offence at the earliest opportunity had they attended.

They experienced difficulties with both boys and and the mother was finding it extremely difficult to cope.

While she had attended one school meeting, she accepted she had not done all that she could to ensure attendance, Mr Jones said.

The father had not appreciated the seriousness of the situation he found himself in, magistrates were told.

His wife had not informed him what the situation was and he has been working, but he accepted joint responsibility, Mr Jones added.

Mr Jones told magistrates it would be unjust to activate the suspended sentence.

He added the boy involved in the second offence had made assurances that he would go back to school in September and his parents knew further offences would constitute a knowing failure to ensure attendance and would be eligible for custody.

But magistrates’ chairman Roy Dolan activated the sentence and jailed the couple for 14 days.

Mr Jones applied for bail pending an appeal, but magistrates found there were no extenuating circumstances that would warrant bail.

The pair will serve half of the sentence in prison and the final seven days on licence.

They were each fined £100 and must also both pay a £30 surcharge and £50 in costs.

Email:

geraint.jones@nwn.co.uk

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